A Path Less Trodden… Journey of B S Yediyurappa
A man who successfully confronted the varied challenges faced by him, Sri B S Yediyurappa is a born fighter. He fought his way to rise from the grass-root municipal leadership to the Chief Minster’s post. His zeal, grit and determination have not dimmed even at the age of 76. He retains the same fighting spirit. His never-say-die attitude and non-compromising nature when it comes to development have enabled him to become the Chief Minister yet again.
Development was the mantra of his administration during the three-and-half years of his rule as the State’s Chief Minister earlier. His tenure and determination to make Karnataka as the Number 1 State in the country was abruptly curtailed due to “unfortunate circumstances.’’ Still, Karnataka had emerged as the Number 2 State in terms of overall development during his rule. Stellar achievements were his answers to those came in his way.
He gave new shape and life to the Bharatiya Janata Party that was confined to the opposition benches. It is undeniable that BSY, as he is popularly known by his initials, was instrumental in the growth of the party starting as a dedicated worker to its State President from single-digit to the present pre-eminent status in the State. He enjoys the blessings of the people in his constant struggles.
BSY’s Popular Schemes
As many as 1.95 crore people of the State have derived benefits of various popular welfare schemes during the 38 months of Sri B S Yediyurappa’s rule. This is an indicator of his popularity, efficient administration and speedy delivery.
Among the several pro-people welfare schemes implemented during his tenure, people still admire him for his novel initiative of making poor girls as “Bhagyalakshmis.’’ Bicycles were distributed to boys and girls studying in government and aided schools in the 8th Standard free of cost. He was the first Chief Minister in the country for introducing loans to famers at the lowest 1% interest rate. The `Yashaswini’’ scheme hailed as the model for the entire country was his dream child. As part of his plans for giving an impetus to dairy farming in rural areas, he took the initiative of offering an incentive of Rs 2 per litre.
When the people of North Karnataka suffered under flood havoc, BSY ensured that 298 villages were shifted and as many as 68,000 houses were constructed under “Asare’’ scheme to provide shelter to the displaced families. The “Janaspandana’’ programme for taking the government to the people became most popular in the State. He took the initiative of encouraging “organic farming.’’ He demonstrated that it is possible to organise an “Agricultural Commerce and Food Processing Global Investors Meet’’ (Agri-GIM) by a State Government in the country.
There was a time when BJP had a mere 2 members in the 224-member Karnataka Assembly, which was reduced to 1 following the defection of the other member. Yet, it was difficult to rein in the lone tiger in taking up the causes of the people. As years rolled by and the party grew from strength to strength in elections after elections in stages, he was instrumental in the party’s phenomenal rise to an extent of BJP being identified with BSY.
In the 2008 Assembly elections, BJP achieved the remarkable feat of winning 110 seats but was denied the fruits of power due to the lack a mere 3 seats. Realising the truism that the golden opportunity of forming the government will not come again and also due to lack of experience in political management, formation of the government was attempted by securing the necessary umbers. However, the independents who lent their support resorted to blackmail tactics despite getting everything they had asked for. Convinced that it will be difficult to survive by trusting them, members from other parties were fielded as party candidates to increase the strength of the legislature party to 121 to provide a stable and strong government.
Bumper Offer to Farmers on Day 1
Sri B S Yediyurappa, who was sworn in as the State’s Chief Minister in the glass house of the Raj Bhavan lawns wearing a green shawl, came out with the sweet news of a bumper offer to farmers even before the ink of his signature in the official register could dry up.
Reaching Vidhana Soudha immediately after assuming power, he held his first one-man Cabinet meeting and announced that the State Government would sanction an additional grant of Rs 4,000 towards two equal instalments of Rs 2,000 each to farmers on the model of the total payment of Rs 6,000 by the Centre under the Kisan Samman programme. This would ensure that nearly 73,000 farmers in the State would be able to receive Rs 10,000 each annually. He also announced a total debt relief of Rs 100 crore to the weavers for their loans till the end of March 2019.
In the ensuing Lok Sabha elections held within a year, BSY ensured that the party bagged the unprecedented 19 out of the 28 seats. While the votes secured by BJP in 2008 was an impressive 34%, it jumped to an all-time high record 42% registering an increase of 8% within one year of rule. He played a stellar role in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls by winning 25 seats despite the party not being in power in the State. BJP under BSY’s leadership has been setting electoral records from assembly, lok sabha, Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike, civic and other local body polls.
He was confronted with a multitude of challenges in his drive for leading the State to the Number 1 rank in the country at various stages. He set a historical record by walking on foot from his residence to Vidhana Soudha by carrying the first-of-its-kind “Farm Budget’’ on his head. As if to prove that even opponents of such novel initiatives would triumph, he was forced to resign in the backdrop of several allegations. But when he went by foot to Raj Bhavan to submit his resignation to the Governor, as many as 70-75 legislators accompanied him to demonstrate the kind of loyalty commanded by him.
A Chief Minister of a State was compelled to go to jail based on a private complaint for the first time in the country. But it was his courage and fortitude that enabled him to infuse confidence to those who visited him during the 24 days of his stay in the jail.
For a man who strived to curb illegal mining, the court offered justice by holding him not guilty on the day of the Holi festival. This proved that it is possible to have faith in justice and judicial system. The ultimate victory was the not guilty verdict of the High Court Division Bench as if to establish the truth in “Satyameva Jayate.’’
Thus, he ensured BJP’s growth from the grass-roots to all levels and won the hearts of the people to such an extent that BJP was considered synonymous with BSY. It is for this reason that Chief Ministership is coming up him. It is earnestly hoped that Sri B S Yediyurappa will lead the State on the path of development in accordance with the wishes and aspirations of the people after becoming the State’s Chief Minister for the fourth time.